Cappadonna – “The Yin & The Yang” review

After starting off his solo career with the underrated The Pillage, Wu-Tang Clan member Cappadonna is finally delivering a sophomore effort. The album starts off with “The Grits”, which has some triumphant horns along with some aggressive verses from both Cappa & the song’s producer Agallah. The next song “Super Model” sees Cappa talking about groupies over some hard hitting boom bap drums & a guitar sample. The Ghostface Killah hook on here is just ok, though. The track “War Rats” has a confrontative vibe throughout, but the beat’s bland & the hook is just redundant. The song “Love’s the Message” with Raekwon is a nice club track & while the disco-influenced production on here was surprising, it fits with the vibe very well. While the song “We Know” has a decent beat from Jermaine Dupri, the rapidly delivered verse from Da Brat about halfway through the track makes up for it. To be completely honest, this was just ok. Cappa himself isn’t really the issue, but rather there’s a lot more features than there should’ve been & the production on most of these tracks were just weak

Score: 2.5/5

Raekwon – “Lost Jewlry” review

To increase anticipation for his 6th album F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art), Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon is delivering his 2nd EP to prelude it. The track “Young Boy Penalties” is basically Rae asking the youth when will they stop committing crimes & the way Scram Jones uses the soul sample was just alright to me. The song “Hold You Down” is a love song & not only do I enjoy the Faith Evans hook on here, but the production from Buckwild also fits with the vibe very well. The track “For the Listeners” is a dedication to all of those who’re living it up, but the synthesizer during the verses is really the only characteristic of the beat that I can describe. The next song “Die Tonight” talks about going out to kill someone but eventually sparring him & I actually found the spoken dialogue at the very beginning about a “Cookie Monster hoe” was pretty funny. The song “New Day” has a better incorporated soul sample & the verses from Rae & Freddie Gibbs about murdering you & coke respectively are just hard! The closer “Whatever, Whenever” talks about keeping his gun on him in the hood as well as reminiscing about living there over a symphonic beat. Aside from feeling like the production could’ve been a tad bit better, this is a solid prelude to F.I.L.A. (Fly International Luxurious Art)

Score: 3/5

GZA – “Legend of the Liquid Sword” review

Just 3 years after his last album Beneath the Surface, Wu-Tang Clan member GZA is now delivering his 4th full-length album. The album opens up with the track “AutoBio”, where GZA is reminiscing about late 70’s Bronx block parties over some quiet piano keys as well as a loud orchestral string section. The track “Silent” with Ghostface Killah & Streetlife gets braggadocious about their stage performances as well as their talents & the instrumental from Bink! has an nice eerie soul sample throughout. The song “Stay in Line” is a message to wack rappers & the beat from Arabian Knight predominantly has this mellow guitar loop throughout but the war-inducing horns during Santigold’s hook are fantastic. While I can appreciate the song “Fam (Members Only)” with RZA & Masta Killa being about what the Clan strives for as well as the haunting production from Mathematics, the fact that it’s censored was really annoying. The title track talks about rappers who’re only in it for the paper & I love how Jaz-O incorporates the Quincy Jones sample into the beat. The song “Fame” cleverly name drops celebrities (similar to the tracks “Labels” & “Publicity” from his last 2 albums) over some keys as well as some boom bap drums. The song “Highway Robbery” is a tribute to the classic Big Daddy Kane track “Ain’t No Half-Steppin'” & I love how the beat turns a relaxing Michael Jackson sample into something grimy. The song “Luminal” is a vivid story about ruthless killer who brutalizes a peaceful town over an ominous beat from DJ Muggs. The track “Sparring Minds” with Inspectah Deck talk about how dangerous the Clan is over a guitar loop. The album then closes out with “Uncut Material”, where The Genius is giving the self explanatory & the instrumental he makes for this track has an orchestral feeling to it. To sum it all up: The lyricism is on point like always, but I feel like the production could’ve been much better

Score: 3.5/5

Ghostface Killah – “More Fish” review

Almost 9 months after dropping a modern classic with FishScale, Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah is closing out 2006 by delivering a follow-up to it. Even though the fittingly titled opener “Ghost Is Back” has the exact same instrumental as “Juice (Know the Ledge)” by Eric B. & Rakim, he doesn’t sound bad over it at all. However, it makes me wanna go back & listen to the original. The song “Street Opera” has a soulful beat from Fantom of the Beat & I really love the chemistry between Ghost & his son Sun God on here. The track “Block Rock” has a grimy beat from Madlib & it goes PERFECTLY with the street raps that Ghost’s delivers throughout the song. The song “Blue Armor” with Ghost’s Wu Block cohort Sheek Louch sees the 2 getting hardcore over a rock-tinged beat & the penultimate track “Alex (Stolen Script)” vividly tells a story about a movie script being stolen over a funky beat from his DOOMSTARKS cohort MF DOOM. The album then closes out with a follow-up to “Back Like That” from Ghost’s last album & I like the opening verse from Kanye West. Especially when he starts it off by twisting up Ghost’s verse from “Ice Cream” by Raekwon. Honestly, this is a decent leftovers/b-sides album. A couple tracks on here were pulled from other releases that came out just before this did & while I understand that Ghost was trying to get his entire Theodore Unit side-crew out there, but I feel like the features from them were kinda all over the place

Score: 2.5/5